It's finally here. Rubber & Plastics News officially turns 50 years old with this issue, and will head to birthday No. 51 under the new moniker, Rubber News.
As I write this, I find it difficult to put a half-century of the publication into perspective, even though I've been there for more than 33 of those years. I also am humbled and honored to be just the third lead editor of the publication, following founder Ernie Zielasko and Ed Noga, my predecessor, who spent by far the most years in this position.
Ernie retired a year before I joined the staff, so I never got to work with him, though I got to meet and spend time with him on several occasions. Ed and I worked together for 25 years, and I learned much from him as a journalist—things such as getting to the point of a story, and how to edit a story without taking away the voice of the writer.
I also think of the many people who have worked for Rubber & Plastics News and our parent, Crain Communications, over the years—people I've been close with, who worked hard to make this publication be the best it can, whether they worked on the editorial or sales staff, or the events, marketing or production teams.
Some passed through here for a short while, with others were part of the work family for decades.
We take seriously our job of bringing the news of the rubber industry to our audience, be it through our print issue every other week, or daily on our website and other digital platforms.
I also know why I still love covering this industry after all these years. The people who make their business in the rubber and tire industry are passionate about what they do and how important their work is.
You don't have to go any further to see how those in the industry feel about the business than by reading the collection of "Why I Love Rubber" testimonies we have been running on our social media platforms the past several weeks leading up to our anniversary issue.
During my time here, I often said that the best part of my job is getting to talk with those in the industry and tell their stories. They may be CEOs of large companies, owners of a small shop, chemists and scientists in R&D working on the "next best thing," or a Charles Goodyear Medalist reflecting on a career full of highlights. They are passionate about what they do, and they often make a career of it.
Just working on stories for this issue, I touched base with some old sources, along with several who are early on in their rubber journey. The veterans shared advice for the newcomers, who, in turn, told of what they have learned thus far and what they are looking forward to learning. I heard about the difficult logistics most everyone is dealing with now, but most of all I heard hope for the future.
Ernie Pouttu of Harwick Standard Distribution Corp. even shared how his employees answered some of the questions I had asked him to ponder. And they were quite insightful. One hit the nail on the head, saying that 2019 and 2020 had "exposed the frailty of the global supply chain."
Another cut right to the chase when talking about how companies can have a short memory, saying, "If global sourcing continues to be more volatile, you'll see more reshoring. But if the volatility calms down for an extended period of time, you'll see customers go back to whoever has the lowest cost, which will probably be offshore."
Lastly, I want to offer my genuine thanks to those of you who have been loyal readers, and to those who have granted us access so we can bring you the news of our industry. Please feel free to contact us anytime with story ideas, leads or just feedback about how we're doing.
And here's to starting the next leg of our journey.
Meyer is editor of Rubber News. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @bmeyerRPN.